Gen. 21 – Hospitality
Dear Family and Friends, Genesis Chapter 21 informs us that Abraham called in The Name of The Lord. In actuality, Abraham taught others to call in The Name of The Lord. Abraham was an evangelical, leader, teacher, and prophet. Our Creator Spoke fondly of Abraham teaching others to call in The Lord’s Name. However, we are not supposed to be Evangelical because other religions are zealous in spreading their teachings. The Rebbetzin and I teach Ha Torah. The Lord God of Israel Draws whom He Chooses. We do not know who stood at Mount Sinai. Any Soul that stood at Mount Sinai to receive Ha Torah is Jewish; if you feel a tug at your heartstrings, perhaps that tug may be more than just sympathizing with and supporting the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
וַיִּטַּע אֵשֶׁל בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע וַיִּקְרָא־שָׁם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָֹה אֵל עוֹלָם:ס
And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba and called there in The Name of The Lord, Everlasting God.
The Lord God is Sharing a narrative about Abraham. Genesis 21.33 is the only place in Ha Tanakh, i.e., The Torah, The Prophets, and The Writings, i.e., The Hebrew Scriptures where the Words
בְּשֵׁם יְהוָֹה אֵל עוֹלָם appear. There meaning is‘in The Name of The Lord, Everlasting God.’
בְּשֵׁם– Bih Shaym – In The Name of
יְהוָֹה– The Lord
אֵל– El – God
עוֹלָם– Ooh Lawm – Eternal
Because this is the only Scripture that has The Words, ‘In The Name HaShem, Everlasting God, It should be of particular interest to us. We should ponder the significance of this Scripture. Our Sages teach a variety of interpretations. Torah scholars focused on The Word אֵשֶׁל Eshel / AyShel.
Rabbi Judah said: ESHEL means an orchard. The Word she ‘al means ‘ask’ for whatever you wish, figs, grapes, pomegranates, etc.
Rabbi Nehemiah said: ESHEL means ‘an inn,’ the word connoting, ask whatever you desire, meat, wine, or eggs. Abraham used to receive wayfarers, and after they had eaten and drank, he would say to them,’ Now say, Grace.’ When they asked what to say, he would reply, ‘Blessed be The Everlasting God, of whose bounty we have eaten,’ Beresheit Rabba 43.7.
Then The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham: ‘My Name was not known among My creatures, and you have made it known among them: I will regard you as though you were associated with Me in the creation of the world,’ Beresheit Rabba 54.6.
Abraham used hospitality To teach his visitors About the Lord God. Rashi says Abraham taught his guests to call in The Name of God, Who provided the food they had just enjoyed. If they resisted, Abraham presented them with a bill for their food drinks and service. The quality dining was centered on being an elegant, luxurious establishment in the middle of the desert. Abraham permitted them to choose. Pay the bill or give thanks to The Eternal God, Who created everything. Sotah 10a – b – notes
Our Sages teach that The Word אֵשֶׁל AyShel is a contraction/acrostic of three words, אֲכִילָה שְתִיָה לְוֶיֶה
אֲכִילָה Ah Chee Lah – Eating
שְתִיָה Shih Tee Yaw – Drinking
לְוֶיֶה Lih Veh Yeh – Escorting
אֵשֶל Ay Shel – A contraction/acrostic of the above three words
Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series – Bereishis Vol. I(a)(Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), pp 776 – 779
How does this impact us? What are we to learn from this discussion? Each of us needs to be hospitable. We should be hospitable because we are supposed to be loving kind individuals who care about humanity. Our scope of compassion is close to our home. Abraham opened his home to guests. As long as we are cautious and careful making guests welcome in our home and at our table then we are following the example of our father Abraham. We should remember that Abraham had many servants who were available at his beckon. Most of us do not have individuals who look after our welfare like Abraham’s servants did for Abraham. So we should be hospitable and cautious with strangers. Our goal is not to seek converts!! Our goal is to be loving and kind and hospitable.
May each of us have Joy, Health, Happiness, Healing, Restoration, Blessing, as we practice Hospitality with Lovingkindness as a result of studying The Holy Scripture together.
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk